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COVID-19 Information for you and your Business

For the most up-to-date information about COVID-19 in Florida, please visit the Florida Department of Health’s dedicated COVID-19 webpage.


Sarasota County Government Permitting- Open, Inspections- Open

3/25/2020 - Updated PDS Building Division Restrictions

PDS Building Division is establishing some restrictions on certain inspections types performed in OCCUPIED STRUCTURES that pose a risk to staff and occupant that do NOT pose life safety concerns. Effective Monday, until further notice or acceptable options are determined, inspection staff will limit any inspections that require entry into an occupied structure. Staff will verify code compliance through exterior inspections, photos/videos or other methods. Alternate methods of determining code compliance are being evaluated to provide options including recorded videos. If the inspection cannot be performed it will be canceled and scheduled at a later date.

Please see attached important notice for these inspection restrictions.

Click to read article from the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System

3/23/2020 - Local Inspection Updates

Effective March 23 until further notice, inspection staff will limit any inspections that require entry into an occupied structure. Staff will verify code compliance through exterior inspections, photos/videos or other methods; alternate methods of determining code compliance are currently being evaluated. If the inspection cannot be performed it will be canceled and scheduled at a later date.

City of Sarasota Permitting- Open, Inspections- Open

3/24/2020 - City of Sarasota Building Division on transmittal drop box program

In an effort to keep the construction industry moving. Plans and transmittals will be accepted in our drop box location in the lower level of the annex building located at 1565 First Street. All plans dropped off will have a 24 hour delay in processing

3/23/2020 - The City of Sarasota is continually looking at events and our process to maintain operations please monitor our website at https://www.sarasotafl.gov/ for updates or call 941-263-6000.


Manatee County Government- Offices Closed, Business as usual inside, Permitting- Open,  Inspections- Open

Click Manatee County Website for more COVID-19 information. 

3/23/2020 - City of Manatee Local Inspection Updates 

Manatee County is following the same procedure as Sarasota County. It will be at the discretion of the inspector on whether to enter an occupied structure to complete an inspection.

3/18/2020 - Message from Manatee County Building Department:

All Manatee County Government public buildings will be closed to the public for walk-in services beginning March 18.  County staff will continue to work and County services will continue to operate traditional hours. The public is encouraged to conduct transactions with the County online or over the phone whenever possible. Citizens can call 3-1-1 for more information.


Charlotte County Government Permitting- Open, Inspections- Open


City of North Port Permitting- Open, Inspections- Open

3/24/2020 - City of North Port Local Inspection Updates

We are still performing inspections as usual at this time. However, if the inspector Or homeowner feels uncomfortable, we will reschedule, or accept E-verification as each case allows.

3/19/2020 - Message from City of North Port Building Department


City of Venice Permitting- Open, Inspections- Open

3/23/2020 - City of Venice Local Inspection Updates

The City of Venice is following the same procedure as Sarasota County. It will be at the discretion of the inspector on whether to enter an occupied structure to complete an inspection.


3/24/2020 - Longboat Key Town Hall begins virtual customer service

Customers can contact staff via phone at (941-316-1966), e-mail (permitdesk@longboatkey.org), and when necessary an appointment can be made. Building Permit submittals and pick-ups will be via bins set up at the exterior door of the Planning, Zoning, & Building Department offices – no walk-in customers will be allowed to enter the building.
*Please see the attached announcement from Longboat Key Planning, Zoning and Building Department.


Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program

SBA Disaster Assistance in Response to the Coronavirus

SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans

Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan (EBL) Program - The Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program has been activated by the Governor to provide short-term, interest-free loans to businesses impacted by COVID-19. Administered by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) in partnership with the Florida SBDC Network and Florida First Capital Finance Corporation (FFCFC), the Bridge Loan program helps businesses bridge the gap between the time damage is incurred and when a business secures other financial resources, including payment of insurance claims or longer-term U.S. Small Business Administration loans. Application Filing Deadline: May 8, 2020

U.S. SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) - The President has activated a presidential disaster declaration in response to COVID-19. Impacted businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, and private nonprofit organizations may apply for low-interest loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration's Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program. If your business has suffered substantial economic injury, you may qualify for an EIDL. EIDLs provide working capital to help businesses survive until normal operations resume after a disaster. The SBA can provide up to $2 million to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses that could have been met had the disaster not occurred. Application Filing Deadline: December 18, 2020

Helpful Slideshow on Florida SBDC COVID-19: Assistance for Small Business


US Chamber of Commerce, CONVID-19 Response Toolkit

Florida Department of Health COVID-19 Dashboard

The Senate CARES Bill: TaxSenate Republicans and Democrats have unveiled legislation to provide emergency relief to workers, families, small businesses, and distressed industries. The full package is big, targeted, and will make a difference. Here are the tax details. Here are details for small businesses

Florida Property Tax Extension -  Property tax is normally due by March 31 in the year following the year the taxes are assessed. The Florida Department of Revenue (FDOR) extended the final due date for citizens and businesses to pay property taxes in all Florida Counties from March 31 to April 15, 2020. Payments that are remitted by April 15, 2020, for the 2019 tax year will be considered paid on-time. Additional information can be found in the DOR Emergency Order 20-52-DOR-001 (Property Tax Oversight).

Florida Sales and Use Tax Extension - Sales and use tax, as well as other related tax returns and payments, are normally due on the first day of the month and are late after the 20th day of the month. The FDOR extended the due date for sales and use tax, as well as other related taxes, collected in March to April 30, 2020 for taxpayers who have been adversely affected by COVID-19. Additional information, including guidance on what constitutes an adversely affected taxpayer, can be found in the DOR Emergency Order 20-52-DOR-002 (Sales and Use Tax and Related Taxes).

Federal Income Tax Filing and Payment Extension by IRS - The U.S. Treasury Department and the IRS announced that the due date for federal income tax filing and payment is extended from April 15 to July 15, 2020.  Taxpayers do not need to file any additional forms nor call the IRS to qualify for this automatic federal tax filing and payment relief.  The IRS has established a dedicated page for updates and information on issues related to the COVID-19 virus:  www.irs.gov/coronavirus.


Click here for more information on small business resources from GCBX Member Centerstate Bank.


The SBA South Florida District Office will host a series of Small Business Recovery webinars to provide the latest information on how the SBA is helping small businesses with their economic recovery.

This webinar will go through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan application step-by-step; offer tips and insight into completing an application and what you can expect after applying.

Thursday, March 26, 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

Skype: https://meet.lync.com/sba123/dcsalas/Q676KK73

Phone: (786) 749-6387; Conference ID - 182259256

Thursday, March 26, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Skype: https://meet.lync.com/sba123/aaharris/HLP8DZ8H

Phone: (202) 765-1264; Conference ID - 707799176

Free to attend. Each call is limited to the first 250 callers.

Additional webinars will be offered throughout the week.

Trouble Joining? Try Skype Web App


Today, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) published its first round of implementation guidance pursuant to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).

The guidance addresses critical questions such as:

How does an employer count its number of employees to determine coverage?

How can small businesses obtain an exemption?

How does an employer count hours for part-time employees?

How does an employer calculate wages employees are entitled to under the FFCRA?

The initial WHD guidance is available in three-parts:

Fact Sheet for Employees

Fact Sheet for Employers

Questions and Answers

The Department of Labor encourages you to forward this information to workers and employers in your state.

A workplace poster model for covered employers will be published later this week, along with additional fact sheets and FAQs


Today, GCBX sent a letter to Governor Ron DeSantis urging him to designate commercial contracting as an “Essential Infrastructure Business” in Florida in an effort to stabilize the construction sector in the near term.

Click here to read the letter.


Revised Bill Signed into Law Requiring Small Businesses to Provide Paid Leave due to Coronavirus

Free 24/7 Bilingual Helpline Open to Provide Emotional Support during COVID-19 Health Crisis


Construction Coronavirus Alert by Adams and Reese LLP: Contractors, Prepare for Construction Projects to Stop, and Know Your Legal Rights

Over the past two weeks, the United States has experienced change at break-neck speed. On March 16, 2020, the City of Boston ordered the cessation of all construction projects in the city for an initial period of 14 days. It is only a matter of time before other cities and the federal government do the same. Click for full Article


Example Message from GCBX Member GC to their Subs

Click here


Message from the White House:


When President Trump took the podium at yesterday’s Coronavirus briefing, he asked Americans to unite behind a single goal. “We’re announcing new guidelines for every American to follow over the next 15 days as we combat the virus,” he said.
And in just 24 hours, the selflessness and patriotism on display all across our great country has been astounding.
The new guidelines released yesterday deliver a nationwide game plan. Each one of us has a role to play in stopping transmission of this virus. Simple steps taken now will have a massive impact down the road, saving many lives in the weeks ahead:

Avoid crowds of more than 10 people
Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly
Work from home if that’s an option for you
Disinfect frequently touched surfaces
Isolate yourself if you feel sick

    While every American does their part, the White House Coronavirus Task Force is coordinating a nationwide response to protect the health and safety of every community.

     NEW: FDA is empowering states to expedite testing 

    To cut red tape and avoid bureaucratic delay, “we are putting in place a policy for states to take responsibility for tests developed and used by laboratories in their states,” the President announced today. “States can set up a system in which they take responsibility for authorizing such tests and the laboratories will not engage with the FDA.”
    The President also announced that Medicare telehealth services will be dramatically expanded. “Medicare patients can now visit any doctor by phone or video conference, at no additional cost, including with commonly used services like FaceTime and Skype—a historic breakthrough,” he said.
    Our seniors, as well as others most vulnerable to contracting the virus, shouldn’t have to travel to a doctor’s office or a hospital if another solution is available. Now, the extra fees typically associated with telehealth services have been removed.
     WATCH: Medicare will dramatically expand telehealth services 

    True to an “all-of-America” response to the crisis, President Trump is continuing to combine the full resources of the Federal Government with the innovation of America’s world-leading private sector. This morning, he spoke by phone with restaurant executives from the fast food industry, who intend to keep feeding their communities through drive-through, pick-up, and delivery service options in the weeks ahead.
    A few hours later, he held a phone call with industrial supply retailers and wholesalers to discuss how to ensure supply chains are able to meet the demands of healthcare providers, first responders, and the American people at this critical time.

     WATCH: We applaud stores for creating seniors-only shopping times! 

    In addition to public health concerns, President Trump understands the serious challenge this virus presents to American businesses, workers, and families. In addition to steps already taken, such as declaring a National Emergency to free up Federal resources, the Trump Administration is working with Congress on a significant economic stimulus plan to provide relief to American workers and industries.

    Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also shared today that President Trump has authorized the deferral of $300 billion in tax payments to the IRS, helping American workers and business affected by closings and other economic effects of the pandemic.
    “The world is at war with a hidden enemy,” President Trump tweeted. “WE WILL WIN!”
     Relief for American workers, industries, and families is on the way!
    STAY INFORMED: For the next 2 weeks, we can all do our part


    Message from Mary Dougherty the Executive Director of GCBX

    We are all in this together and as you worry about your business, family and the families of your employees, GCBX is working to stay on top of this quickly changing situation and to keep you informed.

    We are also working with our colleagues at other business organizations and local governments to assess needs and determine how we can work together.

    Toward that end, I spoke with Sharon Hillstrom at the Bradenton Area EDC and Mirey Eavey with Career Edge this morning and as we all know the service industry is being hit very hard at this time. If you or any of your contacts know of employment opportunities for people who are displaced from the service industry during this time please contact us and we will communicate those opportunities to Sharon and/or Mireya in an attempt to help members of our community.

    We are hoping/praying that this is a short term event, that GCBX members and their families stay healthy and the effect on the economy will be short term.

    We have no doubt we will come out of this bigger, better and stronger than before. GCBX will remain hard at work for its members and for the industry.


    Mike Pence: We Need the American People's Help to Fight Coronavirus Now

    “The president and I are deeply proud that the American people have already pulled together in so many ways in response to this virus, just as we’ve always done during other challenging times in our history,” Vice President Mike Pence writes in USA Today.

    “Now is a critical time. As the president said on Monday, over the next two weeks, there are actions that every American can and should take to help us slow the spread of the Coronavirus. If we succeed in limiting the number of new cases, then we can dedicate more resources to the most vulnerable and save lives.”

    Click here to read more.

    “Medicare said Tuesday it will immediately expand coverage for telemedicine nationwide to help seniors with health problems stay home to avoid the Coronavirus. The new option will allow millions of older people to take care of ongoing medical problems as well as new concerns, while heeding public health advice to stay home during the outbreak,” Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar reports for The Associated Press.

    FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn warns that while the FDA is working full speed to help diagnose, treat, and prevent the Coronavirus, there are currently no approved treatments on the market. The FDA and its partners will continue warning consumers of fraudulent schemes and “taking action to stop health scams,” he writes in USA Today.

    “The Chinese Communist Party’s decision to expel journalists from China and Hong Kong is yet another step toward depriving the Chinese people and the world of access to true information about China”—including about the origin of the Coronavirus, the National Security Council said in a statement yesterday. Read more from Ryan Saavedra in The Daily Wire.

    Click for West Wing Reads


    United Way provides FREE tax preparation to individuals and families that meet the criteria

    They have announced that they are closed through March 30, but this could be a big assistance to folks in need.

    Click here for the link


    The White House Coronavirus Task Force just held a press conference and VP Mike Pence has asked all Construction Companies to donate their supplies of N95/Construction masks to local hospitals and forego any additional orders.

    We are all in this together and our health care workers are on the front lines during this pandemic. We know GCBX members always step up when asked to help, so please heed this request.


    SBA Coronavirus Conference Call for Small Business Economic Support - See below for information to join this call.

    Wednesday, March 18, 2020, 11:00 A.M. – 12:00 P.M.


    Wednesday, March 18, 2020, 2:00 P.M. – 3:00 P.M.

    Join SBA South Florida District Director Victoria Guerrero as she provides the latest information from SBA to help small businesses with their economic recovery from the effects of the Coronavirus. She will give information on how to apply and where you can get additional help with preparing and applying for an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan. Ms.Guerrero will be joined by the Florida Small Business Development Center Network which is funded by the SBA and helps small businesses on a no-cost basis with disaster recovery as well as most other areas of small business ownership, development, and growth.

    The information presented on both calls will be the same. Please join at the time best for you.


    Join Skype Meeting with your computer

    Trouble Joining? Try Skype Web App


    Join by phone:

    Toll number: +1 (786) 749-6387, 590047996# (Dial-in Number) English (United States)

    Find a local number

    Conference ID: 590047996

    Important Information for your Business:

      Florida Governor Announces Bridge Loan - Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the state is making available "bridge loans" of up to $50,000 for small businesses affected by the outbreak. The program is open to businesses with between two and 100 employees.

      Click here for Proposed New U.S. Employment Laws Amid Coronavirus: Good News for Employees, Not Exactly Ideal for Small Businesses by Adams and Reese LLP

      CDC Resources for Businesses and Employers - Plan, prepare, and respond to Coronavirus disease 2019


      Message from the White House:

      15 days to slow the spread

      This afternoon, President Trump and the White House Coronavirus Task Force issued new guidelines to help protect Americans during the global Coronavirus outbreak.

      President Trump: Taking action now will keep America ahead of the curve

      The new recommendations are simple to follow but will have a resounding impact on public health. While the President leads a nationwide response, bringing together government resources and private-sector ingenuity, every American can help slow the virus’ spread and keep our most high-risk populations safe:

      1. Listen to and follow the directions of your state and local authorities.

      2. If you feel sick, stay home. Do not go to work. Contact your medical provider.

      3. If your children are sick, keep them at home. Contact your medical provider.

      4. If someone in your household has tested positive for the Coronavirus, keep the entire household at home.

      5. If you are an older American, stay home and away from other people.

      6. If you are a person with a serious underlying health condition—such as a significant heart or lung disease—stay home and away from other people.

      Today’s guidelines build on the CDC’s recommendations to help prevent spread of the virus. Americans should continue practicing strict personal hygiene, including washing hands regularly for at least 20 seconds at a time and wiping down surfaces in the home regularly.

      Even if you are young and otherwise healthy, you are at risk—and your activities can increase the risk of contracting the Coronavirus for others. Everyone can do their part.

      There’s no better way to protect your family and your community than by arming yourself with accurate, up-to-date information.


      A massive, unprecedented nationwide response

      President Trump declared a National Emergency in response to the Coronavirus on Friday, freeing up more than $42 billion in resources for states and localities.

      The emergency declaration will give healthcare providers on the front lines of this pandemic the flexibility they need to respond. President Trump continues to cut through every piece of unnecessary Washington red tape that may hinder response efforts, and he is continuing to make every Federal resource available to those who need it.

      “I know I speak on behalf of the President and our entire team when I say how grateful we are for governors all across the country and the seamless partnership that we have forged with them and with state health officials,” Vice President Mike Pence said yesterday.

      “We also want to express great appreciation to the American people. Not surprisingly, it is inspiring to see the way tens of millions of Americans are responding with compassion [and] with common sense.”

      Kay Coles James: President Trump’s declaration helps mobilize our nation

      VP Pence: No higher priority than the health of the American people


      President Donald Trump and the Coronavirus task force released the guidelines as the U.S. government moved to try to blunt the impact of the virus. Among new guidelines: Over the next 15 days, Americans should not gather in groups of more than 10 people, schooling should be at home and discretionary travel and social visits should be avoided. If anyone in a household tests positive for the virus, everyone who lives there should stay home.


      Information to help you take action for your business:

      Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the activation of a Business Damage Assessment survey to assess the impact of COVID-19 (coronavirus) on Florida’s local businesses. The survey, which is managed by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), will evaluate the impacts the virus has had on the local economy so implementation of relief programs can begin. Results from this survey will be shared with state agencies and local partners. Surveys submitted by small businesses can be used to access the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan, made available for COVID-19 through the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act. For inquiries or assistance with the survey, businesses can contact Emergency Support Function 18 at ESF18@em.myflorida.com.

      We encourage you to complete the short online survey here.

      The Small Business Administration will work directly with state Governors to provide targeted, low-interest loans to small businesses and non-profits that have been severely impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.

      Click here for Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program

      For the most up-to-date information about COVID-19 in Florida, please visit the Florida Department of Health’s dedicated COVID-19 webpage.


      During these unusual and historic times we are attempting to stay informed and most importantly keep you informed. We have decided that GCBX staff will telecommute until March 30, 2020, but we may extend that date. We feel this is the right thing to do not just for us, but for the greater community. While this is an evolving situation, without perfect information, there is good reason to believe that the virus will spread in Florida, so we feel at GCBX it is important for us all to do our part.

      We ask all GCBX members to be prepared and take precautions at this time:

      Practice aggressive social distancing (6 feet between people – staying at home if possible)

      Practice good hygiene – washing hands for 20 seconds with soap and water – refrain from touching your face

      Stay out of large groups

      Use Zoom or Teams rather than having face to face meetings (GCBX Member Rite Technology can help you facilitate the use of this technology)

      Direct employees to stay home if they are sick

      Follow the CDC guidelines 

        We will pass on relevant information as we receive it.

        Two good sources for businesses are:

        Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

        As you asses your business needs, refer to this article from Adams and Reese LLP with a Labor and Employment Coronavirus Alert- New ADA Rules for Employers.

          In this uncertain time, we want to remind you we are all in this together. Please take all necessary precautions to protect yourselves and each other. Remember to check in with your loved ones and those most at risk, offering to deliver groceries or food is a great way to help those who are most vulnerable. Also, local businesses are suggesting purchasing gift cards to restaurants and small shops to help them maintain cash flow during these hard times. Remember to shop local when you can and these little things will help our economy bounce back in times of need. 

          GCBX is still working to represent the members and keep you informed. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns you may have.

          Gulf Coast Builders Exchange is a 501(c)6 non-profit organization. Copyright © 2017. All Rights Reserved
          8433 Enterprise Circle, Suite 120
          Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202
          Telephone (941) 907-7745
          Fax (941) 907-3898
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